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What is Family Violence ?

The Victorian Family Violence Protection Act 2008 defines Family Violence as: any behaviour by a person towards a family member of that person that is physically, sexually, emotionally, psychologically or economically abusive. This also includes behaviour that is threatening or coercive as well as controlling or dominating that leaves a person to fear for their safety or that of another person. Behaviour that causes a child to hear, witness or be exposed to any of the above is also recognised under the definition of family violence.


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Domestic or family violence occurs when a person uses violence, threats, intimidation or force to control or coerce a family member, partner or former partner.

The abuse can take the form of Verbal or Physical abuse, including:

  • Sexual abuse;
  • Social isolation;
  • Financial abuse;
  • Emotional abuse and intimidation, including threats to harm;
  • Property damage;
  • Spiritual deprivation;
  • Threats towards or actual harm of pets, and
  • Threats to commit suicide as a form of manipulation.

It is any act or behaviour that causes fear. It is against the law for one person to assault another person, whether they are living together or not.

Read our Safety Plan document to help you stay safe from violence.

Family Violence and Children

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The 'Nurturing Children' wheel:

When children are safe this shows eight ways to love and care for children.

The 'Abuse of Children' wheel:

Shows the power and control tactics and ways which are associated and linked with child harm and maltreatment.